If Joi Wadega was in Australia, he would be hooked up to every cord and tube possible to give him a fighting chance, but Joi was born in the remote village of Bunigi in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea. There, with the nearest health facility out of reach, he is fighting for his life. Joi was born on February 15, 2014, premature, and unfortunately, his mother did not survive his birth.
When the YWAM Medical Ship visited his village he was almost two months old and barely weighed one kilogram (two pounds). This small boy, although without a mother, is not alone. Ame Doho, a local woman from the village and her husband Kalea, have stepped in as the child’s parents and they are desperate for help for their new small boy. Ame has begun nursing Joi, but she hasn’t had a child of her own for a few years and producing milk has been difficult for her. Joi is starving and Ame is trying her best to provide him with the nutrition that he desperately needs.
The YWAM MSA team immediately felt compassion for this little one who was so small and weak. However, Joi is not without strength – he grips the fingers of the nurses, almost as a plea for help. The team on board the YWAM Medical Ship quickly began to brainstorm ways to help, and primary health care clinic leader, Melissa Birkland was able to spend time with Ame, teaching her breastfeeding techniques that would help ensure Joi received the much needed nutrients. Melissa and the team were also able to provide Ame with a standard medication that will help to her to produce more milk, as well as health education and practical training to increase the likelihood that Joi would be looked after in the village of Bunigi.
The adoptive father Kalea said, “We want him to live. We want Joi to have a chance in this world.” These brave parents stepped into this sweet baby’s life and have come alongside him in this fight. Joi is a fighter; you can hear it in his cries and feel it in his grip. In the villages of Papua New Guinea, there is a sense of family that creates an atmosphere of doing whatever it takes to help one another. After meeting and educating the villagers of Bunigi, YWAM MSA’s hope is that the community will rally behind this family to get them to the nearest health centre, and in turn, rally to save his life.